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# Massive Mosaic

## Sparking Curiosity to Promote Conceptual Understanding of Multiplication

This task was inspired by Lynne Comartin; a friend from my former school, Tecumseh Vista Academy K-12. As you may know, I have been putting out a task a day for the #Canada150Math Challenge and luckily, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw this beautiful image:

It had curiosity written all over it.

While there are a ton of great projects going on for Canada’s 150th Birthday such as the Great Canadian Flag in my hometown of Windsor, Ontario, I had not heard of the Canada 150 Mosaic Challenge. This mosaic was created by Tecumseh Vista Academy and members of the community in Tecumseh, Ontario for the challenge. You can learn more about how you and your community can get involved here.

So let’s get going!

## Act 1: Introduce the Task

Show students the image above or, the image below:

Then ask students to do a rapid write of what they notice and what they wonder.

Students will then share out their noticings and wonderings while I jot their ideas down on the whiteboard.

While we may explore some other wonderings, the first question I intend to address is:

How many tiles are there in this mosaic?

With manipulatives and/or paper/whiteboards already out on their tables, I would then give students some time to make a prediction and discuss with their neighbours and/or group.

## Act 2: Reveal Some Information

After students have shared out their predictions, I would show them some information.

I’d recommend having base ten blocks on the table, however some students may choose another option such as an open array or area model using partial products to help them solve. The standard algorithm can also be useful, but I caution against promoting the use of the standard algorithm until students can represent the multiplication concretely and visually.

## Act 3: The Big Reveal

After allowing students to share their solutions based on the progressive sequence that you determined as you worked your way around the room, you may want to show this image to go along with some of the other representations that come up in the classroom.

## Sequel #1: How Much Area Does The Mosaic Cover?

I’m a big promoter of ensuring students see the interconnectedness that happens between strands of mathematics. In this problem, it is really easy to connect the problem to measurement and area when we ask students:

How much area does the mosaic cover?

You may consider having students make a prediction, or you can jump straight to act 2 and share these measurements:

## Sequel #2: How Many Murals To Cover The Great Canadian Flag?

How Many Murals To Cover The Great Canadian Flag?

If you haven’t done The Great Canadian Flag task yet, I strongly encourage you do so. Lots of estimating and proportional reasoning in that task and it will really build the curiosity around this particular extension.

I hope you enjoy the task!

I’d love it if you’d leave some feedback and student work in the comments!

## New to Using 3 Act Math Tasks?

Download the 2-page printable 3 Act Math Tip Sheet to ensure that you have the best start to your journey using 3 Act math Tasks to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in your math classroom!

## Share With Your Learning Community:

I’m Kyle Pearce and I am a former high school math teacher. I’m now the K-12 Mathematics Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board, where I uncover creative ways to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in mathematics. Read more.

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